We’ve all been away from home — on a family vacation or a business trip — when we suddenly started worrying. Did I lock the back door? Do I have packages piling up on the porch? Did I leave wet laundry in the washing machine? You may know someone who returned from a trip to find that an upstairs pipe was leaking for a week, resulting in extensive water damage. Or valuables were snatched by a burglar. Or a heater was turned on the entire time they were away.
There are many scary thoughts that could run through your mind when you’re away from home. But there are steps you can take to secure and protect your house. With these tips, you can enjoy your trip instead of worrying from afar.CLICK TO TWEET
There are many scary thoughts that could run through your mind when you’re away from home. But there are steps you can take to secure and protect your house. With these tips, you can enjoy your trip instead of worrying from afar.
In a rush to get on the road, we’ve all made some silly mistakes, like forgetting to lock the door or secure the garage. Before you leave town, make sure you put a few interior lights on timers. You should also:
- Make sure the batteries in your fire alarms are fresh.
- Delay your mail and newspaper delivery.
- Set your thermostat appropriately.
- Ensure your appliances are turned off.
- Set your home alarm.
Avoid appliance and water drama
You shouldn’t go on vacation without doing what you can to conserve energy. Turn down the temperature on your water heater and turn off your hot water recirculation pump. Consider putting your water softener in bypass mode and then turning it off.
Many internet service providers have a vacation suspend feature. Find out whether you can temporarily shut off the internet. Don’t forget to unplug space heaters and other standalone appliances. Plug electronics into surge…CLICK TO TWEET
Many internet service providers have a vacation suspend feature. Find out whether you can temporarily shut off the internet. Don’t forget to unplug space heaters and other standalone appliances. Plug electronics into surge protectors and then switch them off.
To save money and avoid water damage, take the following steps.
- Avoid leaving any plumbing situations — like a leaky toilet shut-off valve — unresolved.
- Consider shutting off the main water supply to your home. Consult your plumber if this is something you’re interested in doing.
- Shut off individual valves to your washing machine, ice maker and dishwasher if you’re worried about leaks.
- Make sure your gutters are clear.
If you live somewhere cold, you’ll also want to make sure your pipes are well-insulated. And if you have a basement, make sure your sump pump is in good working order.
Prevent a home break-in
There’s more than one way to reduce your chances of having your home targeted by a burglar. Securing ground floor doors and windows may not be enough. Could a burglar climb a tree and enter your house through an unlatched window on the second floor?
Consider getting a monitored security system offered by a reputable brand. When you’re away, let the alarm company know so that they can help protect your home. It’s also important to:
- Secure valuables in a safe or hide them in an unexpected place.
- Get exterior lights with motion detectors installed.
- Avoid leaving a key under the doormat. If someone needs to get into your home, you should give them a key before you leave town.
- Make arrangements for someone to mow your overgrown lawn or clear your snow-filled driveway. That way, it doesn’t look like you’re away.
Get help from friends and relatives
When you’re away from home, you’ll feel better knowing that a family member, friend or neighbor will be stopping by your place periodically to check on things. Ask a relative to stay at your house while you’re away or hire a dependable house sitter. And let your neighbor park in your driveway so your home will look occupied.
Find someone to complete tasks like taking out your trash, adding chemicals to your pool and taking care of your pets. When they’re out of town, you can return the favor. Just make sure to show your helper where the water shut-off valve is located in case a pipe bursts.
Be smart when using social media
If your social media activity reveals that you and your family are vacationing on the other side of the world, somebody may try to break into your home. Professional athletes’ houses are sometimes targeted when players are away from home because their schedules are well-known. Bottom line: Don’t broadcast your travel plans on social media, online platforms or other public forums.
To protect your property, make sure your smartphone and social media apps aren’t sharing your location without your knowledge. It’s also a good idea to:
- Adjust your social media settings to limit who you share information with.
- Disable geotagging in the pictures you take with your iPhone or Android smartphone. The photos you take may include details about where they were taken.
- Understand how social media platforms geo tag your posts and take steps to change your settings.
Take advantage of technology
Thanks to the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), there are smart home devices that can be particularly useful when you’re away from home. From any internet-connected location in the world, you can use your smartphone to monitor and control smart devices in your home. You could turn appliances and lights on and off. Or you could unlock smart locks and close your garage door. You could also view a live stream from the web cameras in your home.
You could receive different notifications including:
- Alerts when someone rings your video doorbell or when your smart smoke detector senses that there’s an issue.
- Messages when your smart leak detector senses that there’s a water leak.
- Notifications when someone opens a door, turns on lights or takes other actions inside of your home.
Besides making your life more efficient and more convenient, smart home devices could potentially benefit you by lowering your insurance premiums. Of course, the smarter the home, the greater the possibility that it could be hacked. Do your homework and figure out how to secure your smart home.
Smartphones are pervasive these days, meaning that nearly everyone is carrying a high-definition video camera in their pocket. If you don’t have any smart home devices, at the very least, you could walk through your home, record a video and take inventory of your possessions. This tactic can be helpful if disaster strikes and you need to file an insurance claim.
Have questions about how to protect your valuables, while your at home or away? Speak with a Hippo specialist about smart home protection and get coverage for the things you care about the most.